Thursday, November 01, 2012

Some Steen Time

This leg injury has had so many complications I'm hesitant to say it is healing for fear of bringing some change for the worse down upon us. But I'm going to say it anyway. Steen is getting better. The end is finally in sight. The large swollen ridge below the cut has started to go down, which is good except it is draining into the ankle, so that is getting puffy. I thought some light work might help break up the inflammation, so instead of riding Laredo I spent yesterday doing groundwork with Steen.

He was pretty filthy when I got him out, but he seemed happy about the long grooming session. And when I took him to the strip he was eager to head out.

We did a lot of really light groundwork, starting with leading and progressing to other things. Steen was unbelievably good. He put effort and energy into everything I asked, but wasn't spazzy at all.

I was happy to see he was moving well. He's not lame on the leg any more, though after we worked up to trotting I did see him turn on it and have an "ouch" moment. Although the wound is closing up, I think it's going to be another few weeks before his extensor tendon is fully over the trauma. So mostly we kept things very slow.

We worked on stuff like picking his feet up with the rope. I've done this with him before, but this latest accident was a good reminder to stay on top of these things. Our vet said if Steen had struggled any harder, this could have been a whole lot worse. Of course there wasn't anything I could have done to keep him calm about the electric shock part, but a horse that gives to pressure on the legs doesn't fight if it's caught up in something, which can save its life.

Backing and moving off pressure was great all around, but the most touching thing was the way Steen was when I wasn't asking him for anything. He would put his head down and stand with his forehead just in front of my torso. Once when I petted him after he did something really well, he nickered at me. His whole attitude was (and here of course I am anthropomorphizing terribly) almost of relief. I think he was happy to be doing something again too.

And I have to say, it felt great to spend some non-injury-related time with him. I've had Steen 4.5 years now. I've never owned another horse that long, and I've certainly never taught a horse as much as I have taught Steen. I know him better than I know most of my friends, and I've missed working with him.

The movement did help the ankle get less puffy. Afterwards I let Steen graze while Bear and Brian finished their ride. Although he's been hanging around doing nothing but eating good hay for weeks, Steen was highly enthusiastic about snarfing down all the fresh grass he could manage. In this shot below you can see the healing leg wound on his right hind and Brian on Bear off in the distance.

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